How to Recover From Your Workout Faster, According to Ironman Champ Meredith Kessler

Plus, how she eats and trains.

meredith kessler interview
Image via iStock

Athletes don’t come much fitter than four-sport athlete and ZÜPA NOMA ambassador, Meredith Kessler. As a Ironman champion, Kessler trains up to five times daily and kicks off her active day at 4 a.m. each morning. She fuels this intense workout schedule by consuming up to 4,000 calories daily, including a healthy yogurt-filled breakfast, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, and healthy grains. As an elite athlete, she also has more than a few tips on how to recover between workouts, which every fitness fan could learn from. Keep scrolling for her complete workout and food diary, plus more insider advice.

Sporteluxe: What do you normally have for breakfast?

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Meredith Kessler: Greek yogurt with Bungalow Munch granola, raspberries, blueberries, honey and a banana on top. I use some form of gels for fueling during training as well as a bit of Red Bull mixed with water.

What does an average day of working out look like?

[At] 4:15 am—wake up run (anywhere from two to five miles), 5:30 am—interval swim (anywhere from three to five miles), 8:00 am—indoor or outdoor cycling session anywhere from two to five, afternoon—hour strength training with my strength coach, pre-dinner run (aerobic endurance; anywhere from eight to 12 miles).

What do you eat after working out?

In order to perform proper recovery, you need to replenish nutrients within thirty minutes after a workout. I have always had difficulty with the discipline of getting a healthy meal after a training session yet it should become as natural as brushing your teeth to make the most of that session and be able to recover for the next day. ZÜPA NOMA has enabled me to get a quick, healthy meal in this fueling window. I can then go onto my next session knowing that my body has received quality nutrients. When lunch rolls around, I can fix myself some eggs or a turkey sandwich.

What do you normally have for dinner?

At night, my husband whips up a dish of brown rice pasta, topped with cooked ground turkey and heated ZÜPA NOMA Yellow Pepper Habanero.

What are three foods you must always have in your fridge? 

Greek yogurt, Bungalow Munch granola, brown rice pasta, ZÜPA NOMA, and Red Bull.

How many calories do you consume daily?

As an estimate, I can consume between 3,000—4,500 calories depending on the day, workout routine, training, and bodily needs.

How do you recover after exercise?

Everyone is looking for the magic formula in the recovery process. The bottom line is that there is no substitute for rest, quality foods, recovery boots for compression, and more rest. I love to race and the ability to do this is compromised if you overlook recovery.

Jasmine Garnsworthy
Jasmine Garnsworthy is the Sporteluxe New York editor, covering mostly health and fitness while dabbling in fashion, entertainment news, and pop culture. She swears coconut oil can fix anything, obsessively face-mists through all stressful situations, and will try any weird wellness trend at least once.